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Philadelphia salon recycles 95% of waste including hair, tin foils and leftover color. Here's how it works.

Why this Philadelphia salon is recyling hair, tin foils and leftover color
Why this Philadelphia salon is recyling hair, tin foils and leftover color 02:18

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A salon in Center City Philadelphia is going green, recycling items that typically get tossed after a haircut.

When customer Kelly Lyons comes to Pileggi On The Square Salon, she says she leaves feeling "like a million bucks."

And she's selective about her stylist.

"I don't let just anybody touch my hair," Lyons said. "This is it."

Lyons trusts the hands of salon owner Kevin Gatto with her locks.

"We're not in the doing hair business," Gatto said. "We're in the making people feel good business."

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Now, Gatto has a new way of creating that feel-good experience. Last month, he partnered with Green Circle Salons, an Ontario-based company that started in 2009. Sixteen thousand certified salons are shipping their waste to get recycled and reused into things like plastics and clean energy. There's even an online dashboard that tracks recycled waste.

"When we partnered with Green Circle Salons, Gatto said, "we started recycling up to 95% of our salon waste."

Gatto has recycling bins for different types of things salons typically toss such as metals.

"The tin foil that you see wrapped up on clients' heads, we take them right from the bowl, throw them right in here," Gatto said.

Another bin is for leftover hair.

"We sweep up the hair after all our clients' haircuts," Gatto said, "and with the leftover hair, Green Circle is able to make buoys to mop up or sop up oil spills."

Gatto said leftover hair color gets dumped into a tub.

"Green Circle is able to extract the chemicals from the water, make the water into potable water," Gatto said, "and take the chemicals and make renewable energy from it."

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Every month, the waste is bagged and sent to Green Circle Salons.

A $3 eco fee is added to each client's bill, which is sent to the Ontario company to cover their services.

Clients like Alex Snelling don't mind paying a few extra bucks.

"It definitely makes you feel better about supporting a small business," Snelling said.

Lyons agrees.

"Conservation was really important to me and reducing my carbon footprint was also really important," Lyons said, "so when he mentioned he was doing this, I was like this is amazing."

It's a lifelong dream for Gatto.

"It helps me sleep at night knowing we're making a bit of a difference in not dumping our waste into landfills every day," Gatto said.

With every snip and style, Gatto hopes to continue creating beautiful styles while preserving the beauty of Earth.

In August, the salon will get their first report measuring how much color, hair and metals they recycled during their first full month with the initiative.

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